Xiaguan Te Ji Tuo 2004

$8.00 - $100.00
( 1 Review )

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D Buck Mar 5th 2024

My First Exposure to Xiaguan Did NOT Dissapoint!

Just a heads up, steeping this tuo is finicky. That said, there seems to be some magic hidden inside. I steeped it Gongfu style, as follows, and got wonderfully sweet and subtle notes of smoke and pleasant bitter. But, those can easily be overwhelmed by intense smokey bitterness if not steeped intentionally. However, I've heard that a 5-minute western style produced great flavors, too, so maybe it just depends how the tuo feels at the moment. Either way, here's what got me DELICIOUS results: 1. When breaking off pieces from the tuo, try to maximize the size. In other words, if aiming for 5 grams, try to get one solid 5-gram chunk instead of lots of tiny pieces that add up to 5 grams. This helps keep the leaves whole, preventing from breaking them into finer pieces (which increases their surface area and adds to bitter astringency). 2. Using boiling (100C, 212F) water and 5g/100mL (tea/water), awaken the leaves with an initial rinse for 1.5 minutes. Normally I'll toss this rinse, but it's actually really tasty and worth keeping to drink. 3. Leaving the lid on your teapot/gaiwan, let the hot, wet leaves sit to steam and rehydrate for up to 10 minutes. (this step is generally shorter for younger aged sheng, and longer for older aged sheng). But, 10 minutes seemed to work well for this 20-year-old tuo. 4. From here, flash-steep with 90C (195F) water for 5 seconds. It's tricky to logistically do it this quick, but try not to let it steep longer than 10 seconds; otherwise the smokey bitterness begins to overpower the lighter, sweeter notes. 5. I got up to 6 infusions using this flash method (before I had to stop to get to bed at a reasonable time tonight). But, after inspecting the leaves, I could have easily gotten 6--10 more infusions! Hope this helps anyone looking for advice. Happy sipping!

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